Learning code can be tough, especially when you go the self-taught developer route. Whether you chose the front-end, back-end, or full-stack developer route, sometimes the hardest part is just getting started.
With a plethora of resources (and ads) readily available on the internets, choosing a path can be a daunting task in itself.
Set and Stick to Your Strategy
For me, I found that sticking to ONE main curriculum and having only a few supplemental resources to aid in learning was the best way to stay focused.
This helped me drown out the noise of hearing about “the new hotness to learn”, as well as stay on a path with consistent teaching methodologies.
Doing things this way led me to land my first full-time gig in the industry as an Email Production Specialist (read more about that here) and then onto a full-time Front-end Developer position at my current employer (read more about that here).
So, without any further ado, here is a quick rundown of my top 5 FREE resources I used to learn from and get hired as a full-time, self-taught Front-end Developer.
#1 freeCodeCamp — my main curriculum
There are many free online learning platforms to choose from. Websites like Udemy and Codecademy come to mind, but I committed to freeCodeCamp’s platform because it has a clear, measurable roadmap to whatever subject/certificate you’re working toward. This helped me visualize my progress while learning my way to a certificate.
They also have their own in-platform community forum and YouTube channel. freeCodeCamp, for me, had the complete package for a main learning curriculum.
#2 YouTube Tutorials
In this section I’ll name three different YouTube channels that were of great help to solidifying concepts learned in freeCodeCamp and gain insight on Front-end Developer life in general.
YouTube Channel: DevTips (with Travis Neilson)
Travis actually left this channel and went on to do Design Search at Google. Since then he gave the channel to two people that he deemed worthy to run the channel. I can’t really speak on these folks because I haven’t watched their content but his old videos are still on there and I think they’re still worth the watch.
I enjoyed his videos simply because he explains concepts well and adds a bit of humor to videos that I find entertaining.
YouTube Channel: Brad Traversy
Brad’s channel is where you’ll find more full-course tutorials. I like his videos because he is able to break down complex concepts into easily digestible chunks of information. Because he has full-course types of content, he makes it easy to complete a project all in one video where as some other channels are feature specific (how to create a Bootstrap navbar or how to make a background image cover the whole screen).
This is helpful because it gives you the ability to create your own version of the project by playing around with the code. Doing this helps you really understand what’s going on.
YouTube Channel: Omar Suriel
Omar’s channel is not about code tutorials. His channel is more about his story on how he went from working JOBs (just over broke) to becoming employed as a self-taught developer.
Learning about his story inspired me to keep going the self-taught route.
He also shows me that diversity in a workplace is possible, however different you might look or sound from the stereotypical developer, there is a place for you here if you’ve got the skills.
*This is a big reason why I decided to make this post. I want to represent a success story from a person who has faced adversity. I’m a minority in a lot of aspects and I believe representing matters ✌🏻
#3 Stack Overflow
This is the holy grail of Q & A developer forums. Stackoverflow.com is the go-to place for answers to your questions and questions that have answers.
I chose to name this resource because it’s a great way to search for common problems and find answers relatively quickly.
A huge benefit on this website though, is learning how to ask questions. Being able to form a coherent question with details on what you’ve done to try and solve a problem is an important skill that will help you better communicate with any devs you work with.
#4 The #100DaysOfCode Challenge
This is a Twitter-based community challenge with the premise of learning code by coding for at least one hour a day for 100 days and posting your progress on Twitter. Reaching out and encouraging other #100DaysOfCode challengers is also a part of the challenge.
I think this challenge is great for having a community to “be in the game with”. I didn’t have anyone around me that had this endeavour to break into the industry, so having a supportive group of like-minded classmates was great.
#5 Shoptalkshow.com Podcast
ShopTalkShow is a podcast run by Dave Rupert who is the lead developer at Paravel and Chris Coyier of CSS-Tricks.
Specifically, their How to Think Like a Front-end Developer series helped me stay in the developer headspace without having to stay behind a screen. I made myself take breaks by going on walks, getting in the gym, cleaning my apartment — anything really to get my out from behind the screen.
It also helped humanize the industry. They had guests of all different personalities and backgrounds which was nice. These people, like anyone else, are just regular humans talking about stuff they’re interested in. It made this journey less intimidating somehow.
Aaaand That’s a Wrap!
Those are my top 5 FREE resources I used to get hired as a full-time self-taught Front-end Developer. I hope this post helped encourage and inspire those of you wanting to get hired in the industry.
On a personal note I just want to say that if you want this badly enough, you can do it. Put the time in, do the work, share it, and just keep going.
A Self-Taught Developer’s Bonus PAID Resources
This was the ONLY thing I bought to add to my learning toolbox. I paid less than $30 for them and it was worth every penny. They’re a little over $30 now on Amazon, but still, it’s a great deal for what you get: beautiful and intuitively designed content. These books go step-by-step in breaking things down and building them up. If you were to spend any money in resources for learning Front-end Development, this would be the purchase I’d recommend most!